Guess The Food: 53


Guess The Food: 53

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If there’s a field that I think is at its ultimate peak right now, it’s food engineering. If you happen to be a food engineer, you are probably swimming in it. And by “it” I mean money (and chemicals).

Most of the products that you find in the stores these days were carefully formulated mixes in labs by people in white coats (lab coats not chef coats). They engineer the perfect “food” to satiate the human taste for fats, sugars, and salts. Then they ship it out to the marketing team so they can print off reams of coupons for said product.

For this Guess the “Food”, I give you what may be the pinnacle of food engineering.  It’s really bad for you (shock), but it’s seriously delicious.

Even in its homemade form, this “food” wouldn’t be considered healthy, but I could make it at home with roughly 15 ingredients (including sub-ingredients).

The engineered version of this food, meanwhile, contains a whopping 53 different ingredients. That’s a pretty lenient count also because I counted stuff like “natural and artificial flavors” as one ingredient.

To put it bluntly, I can’t think of any single recipe that has so many things in it.

The Nutrition


The above nutritional info is for a SMALL serving of this thing. I didn’t even have the guts to look up the large version. Forget all the stupid vitamins and stuff for a minute. Let’s just go David Zinczenko on this chart.

If you had a SMALL serving of this “food”, it would be:

  • The CALORIE equivalent of an entire six pack of Budweiser. Not Bud Light either. The heavy stuff. Or roughly two McChicken sandwiches.
  • The SATURATED FAT equivalent of 12 strips of bacon.
  • The SUGAR equivalent of 22 Oreo Cookies.
This is otherwise known as the American TRIFECTA.  It’s really a modern marvel to cram that much crap into a single product.
And I’ll repeat: It tastes delicious.

The Ingredients

I mean come on. That’s an incredible list of stuff for one thing.  I’ve never seen its equal.

I blurred out a few of the components to not make this too easy although I still expect that it might be kind of easy.

I’m also not going to go through all the ingredients. I’m skipping the basic stuff because I might need to purchase additional server space if I wanted describe all of these things.

Nonfat Dry Milk – I think you probably know what this is, but I just wanted to point out the ridiculousness of using nonfat dry milk and whole milk in the same component. Bizarre.

Dried Whole Eggs – I guess I know what this is… but WHY?!

Mono and Diglycerides – Used to blend together ingredients that won’t normally blend easily.

Disodium Phosphate – An anti-caking agent. Also used as a laxative. Bonus!

Cellulose Gum – A thickener that adds texture and volume. Maybe the most common thickening agent in the world.

Carrageenan – A thickener and coloring agent extracted from seaweed. It’s kind of like the vegetarian gelatin.

Annato – A red dye. What’s interesting about this and the other coloring agents is that this food isn’t red. Go figure.

Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate – Another thickening agent. You would be right to guess that this is a very thick food.

Pectin – The natural stuff that makes jams and jellies work. Normally it’s extracted from fruit, but not bananas so they have to add it.

Sorbitol – In the whipped cream. I always think it’s awesome when people add stuff to whipped cream. Like… it whips on its own ya know? It’s a sweetener that is often a substitute for sugar. Who knows why this needs to be any sweeter.

Polysorbate 80 – Used a lot when people want to make fake ice cream. It keeps it emulsified and also keeps it frozen longer.

Propellant: Nitrous Oxide – They obviously use this to shoot out whipped cream, but I just thought it was funny that it was on the ingredient list.

There were obviously a bunch of other ingredients but some are pretty standard.

Even though this food is very tasty, you need to remember that it was engineered to be delicious.

The real question, of course, is if you can GUESS THIS “FOOD”?

19 Responses to “Guess The Food: 53” Leave a comment

  1. I was going to say banana cream pie, but what about the cherries? I’m not sure.

    I will say this- annato is also used as a yellow colorant, in lesser quantities than for red. At least it is a naturally derived substance, and not from petroleum like so many artificial colors.

  2. I think after some of the “Guess the Food” entries, it would be cool to see YOUR version on your next entry, and how it stacks up in taste, # of ingredients, nutritional content, etc.

  3. Working in the Ice cream industry, this seems like it has ice cream in it.

    also why dried eggs? shelf stable, salmonella-less, not fragile. duh

  4. Sorbitol??? Ohhhh noooooo!!! Sorbitol wrecks havoc on my gastrointestinal tract. It hides in a lot of things. At first I thought maybe cheesecake but maybe a milk(?)shake is better. So, what’s the end result of all these things?

      1. That is just nuts! Thanks for bringing this to our attention. While I do a lot of label reading, you usually aren’t given the opportunity when you dine out. I suppose we should be asking for their nutritional pamphlet at each place we eat. Sure puts me off Chic-Fil-A.

    1. It’s a milkshake, banana pudding, but I bet if they made a banana pudding cheesecake it would be similar ingredients.

  5. And this is exactly why I am on a mission to change how my family eats. It is so hard sometimes though. Also, your comment about them printing off reams of coupons hit home. I used to be a coupon queen and then when I started switching us to organic, real and homegrown foods I discovered something…there are NO coupons for eating healthy. NONE! The coupons are meant to reward you for buying the processed, prepackaged product.

    We have no Chick a Fila here, so I did not recognize this at all. Plus I have no temptation to eat it anyway :)

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